Skip to comments.Fox News Reporter Faces Judge Over Refusal to Reveal Sources — Will the First Amendment Win Out?
Posted on 04/01/2013 6:53:26 PM PDT by Texas Fossil
UPDATE (AP) A hearing on whether a reporter should be ordered to testify about how she obtained confidential information in the Colorado theater shooting case is being continued until next week.
New York-based Fox News reporter Jana Winter cited anonymous law enforcement officials in reporting that suspect James Holmes had sent a psychiatrist a notebook of drawings that foreshadowed the July 20 attack.
Prosecutors and Holmes lawyers argued about the issue in court Monday, but the defense wants to again question a detective about whether he might have told someone else about the notebook, who may have then talked to Winter.
The judge agreed and scheduled another hearing for April 10. He raised the possibility that Winters source was from outside Colorado, and not subject to the cases gag order.
(Excerpt) Read more at theblaze.com ...
It has happened before. State and Federal DAs will give a writ of immunity to a critical witness. That checks all the boxes - and is common in Mafia cases, for example.
This is more interesting than a 1st Amendment case. The information came from a lawman, supposedly. How did the law get patient-doctor information? Did the state, either the law or the university, coerce the doctor to turn private communications over, or did the doctor breach her confidentiality agreement? How much did she tell the university to get this guy suspended from school?
How private is the doctor-patient relationship nowadays?
I don’t know if that’s true. Seems to me if witnesses could unilaterally decide not to testify on the off chance that maybe someday it could come back to bite them somehow, then there wouldn’t be such a thing as compelling testimony. And there’d be a lot fewer witnesses.
“A child can see 100 ways the government could prosecute the Fix reporter for reporting what they have hidden from us”
Maybe, but then her source wouldn’t doom her. They’d know she got the dirt somehow, because she reported it. The fact that they’re compelling her to testify about the source implies they’re going after the source, not her. You can say they could always backtracked and use her testimony against herself later. But, again, in that case the best evidence against her is the fact that she published the info, not who was her source.
It isn’t rocket science. If speech is somehow deemed “bad”,,,, the solution is other free speech countering it fully. Thats how a free society works. A totalitarian nation instead works to silence the speech it opposes. This wasnt the nuclear missile launch codes, this was that government was hiding the most proximate cause of the murders for political reasons.
And what was she doing with that source you think she should be compelled to testify against? They call it “conspiracy”. There are so many ways they can prosecute her it’s ridiculous. She should assert her 5th rights, refuse any immunity offers, and let FOX attorneys do their job.
She won’t be alone.
And she exposed a secret the government was hiding to keep the gun control train on schedule. They sure were happy to tell us about his AR-15, His Joker thing, the Bombs at his house, etc etc. The only little detail they were keeping secret was that the mental health professionals in his life should have intervened. But that didn’t help the gun control agenda here.
And she let the cat outta the bag.
“If they want to force you they have exactly one option. Give you full immunity from prosecution”
What world do you live in where only witnesses with immunity from prosecution can be compelled to testify? The court system would shut down were this the case. Or the granting of immunity would expand to absurd dimensions, making the business mostly worthless.
Fact is she will not be compelled to testify against herself; she will be asked to testify against her source. The judge would interpret refusal as protecting the source from incrimination, not herself, and she would be held in contempt of court.
That certainly isn’t rocket science, though what it has to do with my post and why you addressed the argument to me remains a mystery.
So the government has laws that tells us when something we say might incriminate us? How could they possibly even know what they don’t know? Maybe she was sleeping with the detective? Maybe she stole his laptop? The government cannot possibly know when something you say will incriminate you. They can only surmise based upon their investigation.
But the person may know something she would say that would incriminate her.
And as for the mafia, they catch you for one crime, and offer a deal. You testify for immunity, or face the charge they have you on.
Do they also have laws that say when we should open the door for a knock and talk? No, the individual possesses those rights.
What world do YOU live in? Almost every witness testifying today (besides cops, expert witnesses, etc) is there in one of two conditions. They are either voluntary (the majority), or offered a plea bargain for their own crimes, in exchange for testimony.
But the plea bargain crowd is free from forced testimony (assuming they are willing to opt instead to be tried for their own crime which they are trying to avoid)
Forced testimony is rather unusual because it is not easy to accomplish. It’s a last resort, and usually results in rather poor quality information. Sort of like if you force someone to cook you a meal. But it was very common in the USSR and Nazi Germany. It’s also in vogue in China.
“what was she doing with that source you think she should be compelled to testify against?”
I don’t really care. They could have been playing tiddlywinks.
“They call it ‘conspiracy’”
Conspiracy to do what? Break confidentiality? But the reporter wasn’t under any obligation to stay mum. That was the person with access to the information, and only they can decide to leak. Talking with them about it or publishing it after they do isn’t criminal.
“There are so many ways they can prosecute her it’s ridiculous”
I assume you say that because if the profligacy of laws. Isn’t there a book called “Three Felonies a Day,” referring to how everyone is breaking the law all the time? But think about this for a minute; truly think. If the law is so ridiculous and all of us are liable to be prosecuted for any old reason, how would you ever compel anyone to testify about anything? How would the criminal justice system work? Both’d be impossible.
It's hearsay, not admissible testimony. Sure, it sows doubt in the minds of those in the public following the story, but if the sourced doesn't want to risk the penalty of whistle-blowing but wants to get the word out, it's fair. All the judge has to do is not allow it to be part of any testimony. He doesn't need to compel the reporter to reveal anything that won't be used in the trial.
“it was very common in the USSR and Nazi Germany”
This sentence has finally made me sick of the internet. I quit.
Post 19,, you said you couldn’t follow the concept that the cure to speech you opposed, was more free speech rather than censorship.
Thats why i addressed the explanation to you. In hopes you might understand it.
No, there are special laws giving journalists special privileges. And the media goes crazy.
I’m interested in hearing more about the shooter’s muslim faith and reports that he is now claiming that the shooting was a part of his own personal jihad.
Was this a jailhouse conversion to Islam or had he already been radicalized?
Same outcome should be either way.
There is no defence for him.
If I understand you and your opponent, your battle is over the value of the testimony of the reporter when, from my view, the matter is simply trying to find out who leaked the information. From all accounts, the veracity of what has been leaked is not being called to question. And in actuality, the court is pissed off about the matter of fact of the leak and is seeking to punish whomever did the leaking. For my dough, all of it stinks. The reporter ( for once ) did the citizens a service because the court was actually trying to hide this information from public disclosure and it does not seem that the judge was concerned about the impact on the defendant, but rather the impact on “the government.” If you extend the axiom that it is NEVER in your interests to speak to anyone in law enforcement a little, you would also NEVER give testimony in a court of law. In both instances, you place yourself, in today’s sorry legal system, in serious jeopardy. As someone said, the reporter shouldn’t say a word and leave the “driving” to the Fox attorneys.
Ditto "especially since your source could be made up, who knows?"
Agreed, just keeping tabs on domestic terrorist attacks since 9-11-2001.
Too bad she didn’t disclose the forbidden toxicology tests of Lanza in Newtown.